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Heart Health Library


Cardiac Rehabilitation - Recreational Therapist

Picture of developmentally disabled persons, in wheelchairs, playing basketball

What is a recreational therapist?

Recreation therapy is a planned, organized, and therapeutic recreation program designed to help patients develop social skills and learn to participate in leisure group activities. The focus of recreational rehabilitation programs for people with disabilities or illnesses involves the following:

  • involving the patient in leisure activities
  • developing or restore social functions
  • preventing loss of physical capacities

Programs are designed to meet the patients' capabilities, needs, and interests. The recreational therapist may guide or instruct patients in the following areas:

  • relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, to help reduce stress and tension
  • stretching and limbering exercises
  • individual and group sport activities
  • leisure activities such as arts and crafts, games, or dramatics
  • special outings such as ball games, sightseeing, or picnics

Recreation therapists may practice in a variety of settings, including the following:

  • hospitals
  • inpatient rehabilitation centers
  • long-term care facilities
  • residential facilities
  • schools

Recreation therapists are graduates of an undergraduate program in therapeutic recreation, and many are certified in their specialty.

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